We began the third day of our Chapter at 7:30 in the morning, joining the rest of the Church in celebrating the feast of the Holy Family with the Eucharist.
The morning session began at 9:30 in the Chapter Hall. Fr. Manuel Arroba (appointed moderator by Fr. President), opened the session with a time of prayer around the Word: “The child grew in age and wisdom, and the grace of God was with him” (Lk 2:52). (Lk 2:52) We were also reminded of the importance of the Word in enlightening our lives and our reality in order to understand God’s will for us.
After setting the agenda, he gave way to Fr. President who shared a reflection on the seeds of life he sees in our Province. Among them he mentioned the number of lay persons who are in tune with our charism and who share with us the mission, the variety of apostolic platforms and, above all, the treasure that each one of the Claretian Missionaries who form it holds. We finished this first block of the morning preparing ourselves for the phase of election of the new Provincial Government by receiving the survey that was made to the Province on possible persons to fulfil this mission.
After a time of rest, the second part of the morning started in the Cardinal Saraiva Hall where, animated by Fr. Gonzalo Fernández (facilitator) we reviewed the synthesis of illnesses, calls and seeds of life that the Capitulars had discerned the previous day. We ended the morning with a presentation by Fr. General.
Fr. Gonzalo reminded us of the various events that will take place during the year 2020: 150th anniversary of the death of our Founder, of the definitive approval of the Constitutions and of the arrival of the Congregation in America, 125th anniversary of the arrival in Brazil and 50th anniversary of the beginning of our mission in India. These are events that offer us the opportunity to revitalize our Claretian spirit.
He also informed us of some programs that are underway with this purpose of renewal: the Claretian Year (informing us of the materials prepared for it), the filming of a movie based on the life of our Fr. Founder (already in the process of post-production), and the program Encounter with Claret.
Fr. General continued with some information: preparation of the next General Chapter (meeting of Major Superiors in Chile in 2020), opening of new foundations (Bangladesh, New Zealand) and future possibilities of others (Togo, Thailand), new organisms, the challenge of interculturality?
During this time of information, the Provincial Government was preparing its response to the clarifications and interpellations that the groups made to it on the Reports on Government and Economy.
In the afternoon, the session began at 3:30 p.m. with the opinion of the commission in charge of studying the economic report, which recognized the great effort of putting together three economies of three countries and harmonizing them into a single report. After some questions about it, Fr. Manolo Segura (Provincial Econome) responded and clarified pertinently some of the issues raised. This moment concluded with the intervention of Fr. President who reminded us, quoting Pope Francis, of the three words that must be given in our life: responsibility (when I accept a mission with all that it entails), accountability (before God in the first place and before the brothers, society?), and transparency (the necessary openness to those who deserve to know things). Without these three elements, problems of abuse of power, infidelity to the Gospel, etc.
After this, Fr. Carlos Candeias proceeded to clarify all the questions the capitulants had put to the Provincial Government about the report presented. Once this moment was over, and leaving time in case any of the capitulants requested any clarification about the year under evaluation, Fr. President closed the evaluation phase of the Chapter by thanking all the government for the service they had given, as well as all those involved in the writing of the reports.
After the break, at 5:45 p.m. the election phase of the Chapter began in the Cardinal Saraiva Hall. It had two moments: the first was animated by Fr. Gonzalo Fernández (facilitator) where we were invited to reflect in groups on “what features should the government we need have”. This first moment concluded with the sharing by the secretaries.
The second moment was encouraged by Fr. General who helped us to realize that there is no ideal government, that we have limitations, and that we must stand before God with honesty to see which member of our province can carry out the service of authority. We had time to discern personally and share in pairs about the people we consider suitable at this time to serve as Provincial.
We ended the day with the prayer of vespers in the chapel at 7:25 p.m. During the prayer, the sounding was done to in order to elect the Provincial. The results will be communicated to the capitulars tomorrow. Please continue to pray for the Chapter so that at all times we may act according to God’s will.